Monday, July 1, 2013

Take Folic Acid Before Pregnancy

Roger Mitnick  /  at  11:53 PM  /  No comments

TAKE FOLIC ACID BEFORE PREGNANCY


Folic acid is a naturally occurring B vitamin. It helps a fetus's neural tube develop
properly. The neural tube is the part of a developing baby that becomes the brain
and spinal cord. When the neural tube does not close properly, a baby is born
with a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD). The good news
is that folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects. However, folic acid only
works if taken before getting pregnant and during the first few weeks of
pregnancy, often before a woman may even know she is pregnant.

Since nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, it's important that all women of
childbearing age (even if they're not trying to get pregnant) get the recommended
daily amount of folic acid. The best way to get enough folic acid is to take a
multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in it and eat a healthy diet.
Most multivitamins have this amount, but check the label to be sure. You also
can get folate (the natural form of folic acid) in your diet, but most women don't
get the recommended amount of folate or folic acid from diet alone. About 3,000
pregnancies are affected by neural tube defects each year in the United States. If
all women took adequate folic acid before getting pregnant and during early
pregnancy, up to 70 percent of neural tube defects could be prevented.

 Once you're pregnant, you should increase your folic acid intake to at least 600
micrograms of folic acid. Your prenatal vitamin should have the right amount of
folic acid you'll need during pregnancy. Most women should limit the amount of
folic acid they take to 1,000 micrograms a day unless otherwise directed by a
health provider. For example, women who have had a previous pregnancy
affected by birth defects of the brain and spine and women with sickle cell
disease should be sure to talk with their health providers about the need for more
folic acid.

 Folic acid in foods Folic acid is found in the following foods:


 Fortified breakfast cereals (look on the label to see if the cereal has been
fortified with folic acid)
 Lentils
 Asparagus
 Spinach
Black beans
 Peanuts (only if you do not have a peanut allergy)
 Orange juice (from concentrate is best)
 Enriched breads and pasta
 Romaine lettuce
 Broccoli
Folic acid is good for mom and dad, too Folic acid is important for everyone in
maintaining health. It plays an important role in the production of red blood cells.
Folic acid may also help prevent certain health problems; research is still being
done.

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